Four law enforcement officers killed in North Carolina, police say

By Brad Brooks and Jasper Ward

(Reuters) -Four law enforcement officers were shot to death and four others were wounded on Monday in a gun battle that erupted while they were serving a fugitive arrest warrant at a house in Charlotte, North Carolina, authorities said.

The fugitive, who opened fire on officers as they arrived at the residence, was himself fatally shot during the gunfight, and two other suspects were arrested after an ensuing standoff, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

President Biden was briefed on the incident and has spoken with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, the White House said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department chief Johnny Jennings said at a news conference that three of the officers who were killed were part of a U.S. Marshals Task Force, consisting of officers from multiple agencies. The fourth officer who died was with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

In a press conference late Monday, Jennings identified Joshua Eyer, who served with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for six years, as the fourth officer killed.

A U.S. Justice Department statement said one of the four slain officers was a deputy U.S. marshal.

"Today is an absolute tragic day for the city of Charlotte and for the profession of law enforcement," Jennings said. "Today we lost some heroes who were out to just keep our community safe."

The U.S. Marshals Task Force officers who were killed were attempting to serve a warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. They arrived at a residence where the suspect was located, and he began firing on the officers, Jennings said. They returned fire, and the suspect was killed in the front yard.

The officers then took gunfire from inside the house. After a tense standoff, a SWAT team cleared the house and took two people who were inside into custody. Jennings said it is believed at least one of them had fired on the officers.

In response to the shooting, Biden on Monday called for additional action to combat gun violence in the United States.

"Leaders in Congress need to step up so that we ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require safe storage of guns, and pass universal background checks and a national red flag law", Biden said in a statement.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Longmont, Colorado, and Jasper Ward in Washington; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw, Steve Gorman and Surbhi Misra; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Chris Reese, Michael Perry and Gerry Doyle)